Can the Knicks run with the best teams in the NBA?

Julius Randle, Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, Derrick Rose, Knicks.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Knicks find themselves in unfamiliar territory late in the season. New York has a 35-28 and sits at 4th in the Eastern Conference with just 9 games remaining on the schedule.

The narrative of this team seems to be increasingly glowing with every passing month. From being an “upstart” team, to a fringe playoff team, to fighting to avoid the play-in tournament, to now being arguably the favorites to secure the 4th seed in the East, this has been an ascending group of players all season long. They’ve been playing their best basketball of the season.

The Knicks will have a big test before the playoffs

The team is preparing for a West Coast road trip that will see them face off against the Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the San Antonio Spurs. It’s a gauntlet of some of the best teams in the league.

It’s also a measuring stick for this Knicks team that no one expected to be where they are. New York has had so many excruciatingly close losses to top teams in the league this season. They played the now #1 seed Phoenix Suns early last week and nearly got the win.

They find themselves in a territory of teams like the Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, and Trail Blazers. Not the top tier of contenders but among the top half in the league. So how do the Knicks stack up against the best groups in the NBA?